West Side traffic circle leads to collisions between motor vehicles and cyclists

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      The City of Vancouver plans to remove a traffic circle along a popular cycling route because of a sharp rise in accidents in recent years.

      In a letter to residents living near Pine Street and West 10th Avenue, transportation engineer Brian Gould explains that this corner has become extremely perilous for cyclists.

      "The traffic circle was installed in 2004 as part of the 10th Avenue Bikeway project," he writes. "Since that time, however, the intersection has consistently been identified by ICBC among the top 10 locations in the city in terms of frequency of cycling collisions involving motor vehicles. In the seven years before the circle was installed, there were no reported collisions involving cyclists. However, in the period from 2005 to 2012, 17 were reported."

      Gould's letter notes that a UBC study also "identified this intersection among the most commonly reported collision locations involving traffic circles".

      Every single incident occurred with a cyclist travelling east or west along West 10th Avenue, and the drivers entering the intersection going northbound or southbound along Pine Street.

      "To address these safety issues, City staff have determined that the most appropriate actions are to remove the circle and trim landscaping on City right-of-way that may be affecting sightlines," Gould states in the letter. "At the time of removal, stop signs will be installed for north-south traffic on Pine Street."

      Charlie Smith




      May 4, 2013 at 10:21am

      The Cycling in Cities research program looked at infrastructure and cyclist safety and clearly identified traffic circles as a problem. Even a cursory look at the pix in this article shows how the signage blocks sightlines. Couple that with tall plants in the centre dirt portion for much of the year and you have basically put up a super-effective screen to block vision of motorists and cyclists alike.


      Pam Holly

      May 4, 2013 at 10:29am

      To save money, time and disruption, why not just install stop signs for north and south traffic, plus trim the landscaping? Leave the circle as is.

      Ken Ohrn

      May 4, 2013 at 10:34am

      Traffic circles in general are ineffective and dangerous. Few people seem to know the priority rules (right-of-way belongs to the person in the "circle"), and many treat it as a completely uncontrolled annoyance.

      In my mind, the worst ones are at 37th and Blenheim and UBC's 16th and Wesbrook.


      May 4, 2013 at 12:11pm

      Traffic circles are not dangerous - bad, inattentive, speeding drivers are.

      Bozo Genius

      May 4, 2013 at 4:13pm

      I like traffic circles, and the ones around my block near the PNE seem effective enough. But I've always assumed it's just a 'traffic calmer'- and you would treat it like a 4-way courtesy corner / right hand priority. But two blocks away, in Burnaby, the posted sign says 'yield to traffic within circle' like they do in the big roundabouts in Europe. Burnaby traffic circles are the same size as Vancouver's. Which one is right? Where do I go to find out?


      May 4, 2013 at 5:21pm


      The traffic circle at 16th and Wesbrook is a huge improvement over the intersection that was there previously. I spent several years, before and after its installation, crossing it daily as a driver, cyclist, or pedestrian. There are far fewer accidents now than there were previously and traffic flows much more smoothly. As a resident of campus, I'm very happy with it and glad to see the intersection at East Mall is getting the same treatment.


      May 4, 2013 at 6:16pm

      Why not eliminate north bound traffic similar to Cypress (between 4th & 5th) or Manitoba and Columbia (both between Broadway & 10th)? http://goo.gl/maps/yYCfB

      While we're talking about it, I'd also suggest that more traffic calming controls such as the 10th/Yukon or 10th Burrard would be great. If we had these ever two or three blocks on the busier sections of 10th, it would discourage cars from using 10th to travel more than very short distances. http://goo.gl/maps/3qxht


      May 4, 2013 at 6:16pm

      "Traffic circles are not dangerous - bad, inattentive, speeding drivers are."

      Actually, both are. And quantified by research and statistics. Which is a little different from just commenting without (it seems) bothering to do even the cursory amount of enquiry you could manage by reading the article and the link provided in the first comment. Biggest problem with the Internet? People that confuse their bizarre opinions with reality.


      May 5, 2013 at 1:08am

      If the right-of-way belongs to the vehicle in the traffic circle, then what happens when two vehicles enter the traffic circle simultaneously? My neighbourhood is full of these damn things. I hate them because of the reduced visibility and the uncertainty about the right-of-way.


      May 5, 2013 at 8:08am

      what kind of crazy nanny-state crypto-conservative bs is this? The traffic circles, roundabouts are the best thing ever for traffic. As cyclist who travels past that intersection I am not calling for the phase of sensible traffic roundabouts.

      This is madness. Let it be, trim the hedges or whatever but a war on roundabouts is not required. Cars and bikes do very well w/out those idiotic stop signs that CYCLISTS JUST BLOW THROUGH ANYWAYS.

      look up my fellow cyclists, look up and where you are going. Problem solved, just don;t be rubber-necking there peeps.